November 7, 2017: Russian airline AirBridgeCargo (ABC) has got its full tranche of freighter slots at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport (AMS)after two days of negotiations. Dutch airline KLM and ABC have come to an agreement which will allow ABC to fully re-establish its operations to Schiphol in Netherlands as per its request.
The agreement follows slot restrictions at Schiphol, which threatened freighter operators with a potential loss of up to 20 percent of their slots. Moscow threatened to withdraw overfly rights for Netherlands-registered aircraft, including those for Dutch airline KLM.
"As a result of two-days of negotiations, KLM and ABC have reached an agreement, which will allow ABC to fully reestablish its operations to AMS as per its request. The parties involved are to elaborate certain operational details, but in general the agreement in principle has been reached," said a statement from ABC.
ABC said that it expects to resume its operations at the airport in the weeks to come, and that both airlines will continue cooperation in order to avoid such situations in the future.
In early October, following slot restriction in Schiphol, ABC announced that it will gradually increase its cargo capacity up to 12 flights per week using its fleet of Boeing 747 freighters to Liege. ABC's addition of Liege Airport brings its total number of European destinations to 13.
Amsterdam's airport can handle a maximum of 500,000 slots per year and growth at the airport means that limit will be reached this year, with all-cargo flights accounting for around 18,000 of those.
Airport Coordination Netherlands, the organization which allocates slots at Schiphol, said AirBridgeCargo’s slots had been cut for failure to fully utilize its existing slots, according to European rules, and it did not have the power to grant any additional slots because of a cap imposed at the airport.
Due to the ad hoc nature of the air cargo and freighter industry, it is expected that these airlines will be the hardest hit by the restrictions while airports in Luxembourg, Liege, Frankfurt and Brussels, are set to benefit.